Winter Night Dinner

We cook. A lot. However, with the addition of school this fall, our meals have become less complicated and faster to make, and the cooking itself is typically falling to Matt. To celebrate the start of my winter break from school , I treated Matt to a homemade winter night feast, and he did not even have to do any dishes!

I was working from home, and decided to take on a project that I usually don’t have the foresight to start: making beans from scratch! We eat beans pretty often, and in a variety of forms, but for time sake, they are usually out of a can. Yesterday, I had time to soak black beans. I turned these beans into a rich base for black bean chicken chili with sweet potatoes. Boy was it good! The house smelled divine when Matt got home from work. To top it all off, I experimented with a new cornbread recipe that I found on a new favorite blog: The Daily Garnish. It was the perfect meal to use up some old ingredients sitting around, and highlight our home-rendered leaf lard! What a glorious winter night feast!

Black Bean Chicken Chili with Sweet Potato

  • 1 lb dry black beans
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 4-6 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 3 chicken breasts, grilled and shredded
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 each yellow sweet pepper and red sweet pepper, diced
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (if you want extra spice)

Soak beans overnight or complete quick soak method (cover with water, bring to a boil, remove from heat and let sit for 1 hour). Rinse beans and set aside. In large pot, sweat onions, garlic and celery. When clear, add beans, tomatoes, stock and spices. Simmer for 2 hours. Add sweet potatoes and peppers and simmer for 1 hour. 20 minutes before serving, add chicken and corn, and taste for seasoning.

Serve with cornbread.

Yogurt Cheddar Cornbread

The trick to this and other cornbreads is preheating the pan in the oven. Cast iron is best. This will create a golden crust and help the batter to raise. This recipe makes 1 9” cast iron skillet, or an 8×8 glass pan.

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar or honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter or home-rendered lard
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar (or other) cheese


  • 1 Tbs lard or butter for greasing pan

Start by pre-heating the oven to 400 degrees, with the cast iron skillet in the oven.  While pan is heating, combine the cornmeal, flour, corn kernels, baking soda, sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, and then fold in the cheese.

When oven is up to temp, put 1 large tablespoon butter or lard in the skillet and return to oven for fat to melt. When melted, spread the batter into your greased skillet and immediately return to oven. Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.


5 thoughts on “Winter Night Dinner

  1. Pingback: Making Our Own Kind of Music | Moose & Turtle in Seattle

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